Interview: Dj Cutman (Video Game Remix Musician/Producer)

Interview-DJ-CutmanSome say his tracks define the chiptune genre, those unaware ask who's that masked musician? We say it's Dj Cutman and we're avid listeners! Having recently provided audio for the RetroCollect FM Podcast, we sit down with Mega Man's mysterious enemy.

To take the most memorable aspects of video game music and to remix them into something more spectacular is no easy feat. RetroCollect's very own Katsu takes control of this compelling interview to get to the bottom of what retro games inspire this remixerand producer.

^Katsu: Could you give us a brief background on how you got started getting into music production?

Dj Cutman: I've been playing music in one form or another since grade school, I was in concert band, but things started getting interesting when I first got my hands on GarageBand back a thousand years ago. I was just messing around for the most part, I moved on to Reason and Pro Tools, and then a few years back I got a gig as a vocal engineer at a record studio doing hiphop vocals and mixes. It was there Dj Cutman was really born, I used time after sessions to work on beats which later became my first album.

^Katsu: What separates you from the other producers?

Dj Cutman: Oh man, that's the eternal question, huh? Well I make Chiptunes, mix them with 90s drum samples and I'm DJ in a costume that somewhat resembles a Mega Man boss. I also work like crazy, and post music like crazy. My Soundcloud has over 200 tracks, most of them are freely downloadable.

^Katsu: Which other artists inspire you?

Dj Cutman: So many. Probably the first artist to really get me motivated was Deadmau5. I thought, if this dude can wear a giant mouse-head and be one of the world's top DJs, what's stopping me? Nowadays I draw inspiration from all over, artists like Savant and Zedd are big inspirations to my production, but I am also inspired daily by members of the VGM and Chiptune scenes.

^Katsu: Which non game related artists old and current? Are you a massive Springsteen / Abba / Skid Row / BSB fan?!

Dj Cutman: I did used to be a pretty huge Aerosmith and David Bowie fan. But around the time I got my hands on my first copy of Dance Dance Revolution for PS1, everything changed.... 

^Katsu: What is you personal favourite Genre/Style of music?

Dj Cutman: Chiptune... and Electro House. Is ElectroChip a thing? If it is that's my favorite.

^Katsu: Why did you decide to focus on game related music / choose to create tracks based on video games?

Dj Cutman:I've been collecting game music since I was a kid. I always appreciate the artistic merit of Game Music, and I was tired of it being a guilty pleasure. I wanted to bring it to new audiences and make the kind of music I wanted to hear; beefed-up, modern production, but still with the heart and soul of original chiptune game music.

^Katsu: You have recently done a lot of collaborative work, who should our community be tuning into?

Dj Cutman: I have the honor and privilege of working with some fantastic artists on my label GameChops. Check out our Releases, we've got a new album every month (sometimes more!)

^Katsu: What have been the high and low points in your musical career?

Dj Cutman: Oh man, my high and low point was one weekend when I played two shows with dubstep pioneer Excision. Both shows were packed, in great venues with incredible sound and lights. That was the high point. The low point is that nobody gave a damn about me or the other opening DJs. It was clear that I was brought on, not because the tour manager liked my music, but because they thought I would sell more tickets. It's a business and I understand that now, but it was a bit of a rude awakening. Luckily, I recorded the set, so I got a nice mix out of the whole experience!

^Katsu: Which production software would you advise a total beginner to experiment with in music production?

Dj Cutman: Guh, hard to answer without knowing the goals of producer. I would probably say Reason, Logic, or Ableton Live would be a good choice for production

^Katsu: What was your first gaming system? Do you miss it!?

Dj Cutman: It's my Nintendo and I STILL HAVE IT. It's part of my home studio now.

^Katsu: This is a love story..  Is it your original NES/SNES, or a replacement?  Have you had any work done on the console to meet your needs or are you a vanilla gamer?

Dj Cutman: It’s the original! Although it has somehow lost all the screws in its other case, so its just sitting, barely together (but totally operational!) I have replaced the 72 pin connector a few times.

^Katsu: Which system do you find yourself investing time in now?

Dj Cutman: I just got a 3DS and it's awesome. Mario Kart 7 is so good. I still log time on my SNES now and again.

^Katsu: Did you ever have a SNES jnr? So cute.. Oh and what are your top 3DS/DS titles?

Dj Cutman: I just got a SNES MKII, it's a little smaller then the traditional SNES. Top 3DS title is Mario Kart 7, it's so good. Kid Icarus is always amazing too.

^Katsu: Do you collect for any game systems?

Dj Cutman: Oh man, I do. The challenge is not the collecting, it's where to put everything.

^Katsu: So where do you put everything!? What systems? And are you a cart or complete in box kinda guy?

Dj Cutman: I'm not a complete in box guy, if I have the cart Im good! I've got a NES, SNES(x2), about three Genesis (they keep breakin down on me!), a N64,  PS2 mini and a Wii (which is really just my GameCube :3)

^Katsu: What is your favourite game?

Dj Cutman: Mega Man X... or Mega Man 9.... or Zelda II. Man I'd play Zelda II right now...

^Katsu: The Nintendo following in the USA is heavyweight fresh huh…? Along with the Megaman following (justified for sure)!  Did you have much exposure to the SEGA platforms at all or was it just a personal preference with the Nintendo product? 

Dj Cutman: I love the Sega Genesis. The Dreamcast was amazing, but I've lost mine somewhere along the way...

^Katsu: Which track would you say is your most accomplished work?

Dj Cutman: My Daft Punk remix of Something About Us is the most popular track on my Soundcloud.

^Katsu: Any regrets along the way?

Dj Cutman: No, I feel like every decision I have made has led me to where I am today. I try to live without regret.
^Katsu If this were Facebook, we would like this statement!

^Katsu: What do you have planned for the future?

Dj Cutman: My game music label GameChops can become something really awesome, I think. We're one of the first labels to produce, license and release video game remixes, and I hope that in the future, more labels appear and create a greater demand for remixed video game music.

^Katsu: Credit to you and everyone we’ve heard so far, you have some truly amazing artists on label and we hope you can expand the sound.

^Katsu: If you could change one part of gaming history what would it be?

Dj Cutman: The shutting down of The Sega Channel. That thing was awesome.

^Katsu: Could you elaborate on this for us (from your perspective)? As us poor Europeans never experienced the SEGA Channel to my knowledge?

Dj Cutman: Sega Channel was basically an interface for download game ROMs directly to your console. Every month there was another 40-50 games to choose from. It was really insane.

^Katsu: What series/titles from the past would you like to see updated to current platforms?

Dj Cutman: More 2D Mega Man please!

^Katsu: We spoke to someone only last week who mentioned the exact same thing! It is quite bizarre that Capcom have not took the initiative on the Mega Man / Rock Man franchise.. They really outta get their groove on! How would you picture this platform, concept etc?!

Dj Cutman: Well the Mega Man games are always about great levels and powers. If Capcom doesn't have good level designers on staff, I understand why they're not turning out new games. Personally I'm happy with them producing nothing over knocking out a lackluster Mega Man game every 6 months.

^Katsu: Has anything eluded you so far in the gaming wise that you would have liked to get your hands on?

Dj Cutman: You know, I don't play games nearly as much as I would like, so when I do have some time to game I've got my options. I am still looking for a cart of Mega Man X3. 

^Katsu: What flavour would sir prefer complete/cart only and regional preference surely our following can assist?

Dj Cutman: Oh man, Mega Man X3 is so rare. I just need a USA region cart. I'll have one someday!

Link: Dj Cutman's Official Website

Link: Dj Cutman's Music Store

Link: Game Chops


Last Updated ( 22 January 2013 )  

Katsu

Katsu is RetroCollect's indestructible bullet hell spaceship! With a love of all things Shmup, Fighting, Arcade & 2D. When he's not out delivering retro related challenges at gaming events? He'll most likely be scouring the site or twitter, whilst playing 4 Pokémon games simultaneously!?

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